I've sold millions of dollars of my inventions and you can too, if you learn the way the system really works."
Me selling products on HSN (Home Shopping Network) a few weeks back.
Want to sell your inventions on TV? You'd think any inventor would LOVE to hear that but let me tell you a story about how inventors sometimes trip over their own shoelaces, again and again and again.
Inventors are most always nice and very well intentioned people, but often they don't understand how the system works. Let me give you an example. Recently I met a nice person, we'll call him Robert. He retired from his profession and following the smell of riches decided to invent.
How did I meet him you ask? He called me, as inventor's often do. Some inventors call for advice or to request financing. Other inventors call to shoot the breeze or simply to show me their invention and get a pat on the back. Robert was a mix of all these inventors. He had a product he filed patents on, registered trademarks and copyright on and even manufactured more than 20,000 units. I guess his total investment was about $200,000+.
What was he doing with his products? Just like most inventors, letting them take up space in his garage. He had almost the entire production run... sitting and waiting.
I looked at the product and immediately saw several mistakes. 1) Package was too big for product, 2) Package did not have even 1 photo of product in use, 3) flowery verbiage never told why anyone should but the product, 4) and etc...
But I liked the product. This is where my heart takes hold of my mouth. Do I tell the person about their mistakes and try to help them or do I just tell them they did a great job? I have to speak honestly but I do it gently to see the reaction. Robert, was receptive but not really. He felt the product was, "his baby", and wanted to get it sold for full price (even though no one was buying at his inflated price). He also didn't want to change the packaging because he put so much time into it (even though it was not selling the product).
I made him an offer. I said, "Robert, this week I am driving to meet the buyers at HSN again. I'll show them your product and if it sells I split the profit with you." (Typically licensing agents get a 50% split.) Robert was not sure. He was thinking about a future marketing event he was going to attend. I asked how many he sold at the last event like that and he told me about 1000 units. He also told me the event was a really long time ago. I could see he felt like he was parting with his baby. How can you sell your baby? You can't.
That is why most inventors invent for the chance of having a story to tell their friends and family. The story is worth more than the money. I left the meeting knowing eventually those 20,000 units would be discarded or donated. Sad. But it is why most inventors don't make money.
If your like Robert, don't call me. Please, tell your stories to your friends and family and enjoy the hobby. It's like bowing but with much more legal fees. But if you have a product you'd like to sell, feel free to call me. IF I like it I might be able to help you. If I can't I might know someone else who can. Bring me products NOT babies.